After the success that was Destiny: The Taken King, the developer Bungie released Destiny‘s latest expansion, Rise of Iron. This expansion has a new campaign, new quests, new maps, loads of new weapons and return of some infamous old ones. In most ways, Rise of Iron maintains the formula of Destiny and The Taken King but doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The fast-paced action of Destiny remains challenging and enjoyable especially with the arsenal of new guns at your disposal. Unlike The Taken King, you don’t have to start from fresh; meaning old weapons and armour are still usable and their level can be increased by breaking down newer gear. New players and those on a hiatus may find it difficult to catch up initially but the newer weapons are just too good to pass up.
The story takes place after the events of The Taken King, where the Guardians helped put a stop to Oryx and his army. Lord Saladin, the last Iron Lord, calls upon the Guardians to help defend humanity against a new threat – SIVA, and to uncover the truth behind the fall of the Iron Lords. The entire campaign can be completed in under two hours which is quite disappointing, especially considering since The Taken King’s campaign was four times as long. The story partially regressed back to the storytelling of vanilla Destiny in that it leaves out many of the finer details. What makes it worse, is that SIVA – a malfunctioned nanotechnology developed in the Golden Age of humanity – is a weak antagonist. Unlike Oryx who was a big alien villain hell-bent on consuming you for killing his son, it is difficult to get motivated to fight a foe that doesn’t directly interact with you; it just enhances the Fallen (another alien race) to fight you instead.
With the expansion comes a new patrol zone, the Plaguelands. It is situated just outside the wall of the Cosmodrome in old Russia. It is here where the effects of SIVA make the biggest impact. The walls that were previously enclosed the Cosmodrome are now cut as if with a really hot and sharp blade. Red machine tendrils grow like trees from the ground and swarms of nano-mites attack you if go too close to their “nests”. The Plaguelands are also filled with the newly enhanced Fallen which are certainly more challenging to fight than their unenhanced brethren. The new area is beautifully crafted and exploring every nook and cranny to find the secrets they behold is quite satisfying.
As with The Taken King, there is a new raid in Rise of Iron. The day Wrath of the Machine was released it took the first raid team of some of the best in-game, a little more than two hours to complete. Completing the raid is not easy; you require good coordination with your teammates. The raid is absolutely a blast to play and it is on par with the previous raids, if not surpassing them! In addition to the raid, a new strike and two modified strikes have been released. The new strike boss fight is quite chaotic and difficult if one decides to go in guns blazing. It requires patience and proper positioning of your Guardian during the entire fight.
For those who don’t much care for the story missions or raids but for combat against fellow players, new Crucible maps and a mode came with the expansion. The new mode, Supremacy, requires Guardians to collect tags from enemy players if they want the kill to count towards the score. It is fun to play as it requires coordination with teammates but most games can turn into shotgun fights because of the close proximity required to collects tags. But one of the greatest features released on Destiny as of yet is the implementation of private matches. For years, fans have asked for a private match feature so players could play against their friends, and Bungie has finally listened. Private matches are a great way for new players to enjoy the player vs. player content with friends rather than face the ruthlessness of the Crucible.
In a way, Rise of Iron pays homage to the original Destiny and you can see it clearly in the way content and some of the rewards of the side quests. Some of the missions gave me nostalgia, bringing me back to when I first started playing Destiny and saw the beautifully designed world and the potential it had. The game constantly evolved from when it was first released to the release of The Taken King. Rise of Iron did add more enjoyable content but it seriously lacked in improving Destiny the way the previous expansion did. The new raid, strikes, crucible modes are enjoyable but they can get repetitive very easily once mastered. The one thing I had hoped would be better was the story. I wish there had been more of it and that the details would be entirely fleshed out. Thankfully, Bungie does not abandon its fans after the release of an expansion. I’m sure there will be more updates in the future and more content will be added as was done for The Taken King. All in all, even though I had higher expectations for Rise of Iron, I still enjoy playing Destiny and don’t regret buying it.